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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I have resumed work on my anti-textbook

I have resumed work on my anti-textbook of poetry, and am coming up with a list of thirty poets whose work I recommend. It turns out that about 10 of them belong to the so-called New York School of Poetry.

Now, of course, the reason is that I don't see their work as all that similar to one another: I'm not going to confuse a poem by Barbara Guest for one of Joseph Ceravolo or Clark Coolidge or David Shapiro. There are shared values, but I see them as sharply individuated.

Now the problem is that when I look at mainstream poetry, it seems much less individuated by style. But this seems to be a cognitive distortion: it is because I am looking from outside that I am able to clump it into larger clumps. I still think that I am right, in some sense, but I need to take into account this distorting bias.  

1 comment:

Bob Basil said...

I'm looking forward to reading upcoming chapters, Jonathan.